Interview with a warrior: The Women Co interviews Tammy Wise, Founder of BodyLogos and author of The Art of Strength: Sculpt the Body ~ Train the Mind.
Tammy Wise — “My mom was and is a narcissist. I was sexually abused by my dad from the age of 10-13 and was so sure my mom wouldn’t be there for me that I didn’t tell her. I held onto the secret for 40-years. The first time I told her, she forgot and said I’d never told her. This was when I realized how brainwashing or gaslighting worked! I felt confused, unimportant and irrelevant!
Through the years my body was my refuge, and dance class was my sanctuary. I developed a strength training/posture method that kept me present in myself. I could recognize where tension was accumulating in my body, dialogue with its cause, and then exercise it away with a movement remedy.
Through this method I could manage my “lost” feelings. Lost felt like a darkness that blinded me from me. All I could see when blinded was Mom’s needs. My method shed light on who I was. It was so helpful that I became a professional dancer working on the Broadway stage in, A Chorus Line, by 19-years old. And have since been ordained a Tao Minister working in the healing arts.
I call my practice BodyLogos. I believe in the value of BodyLogos so much that I teach it to others and wrote a book about it: The Art of Strength: Sculpt the Body ~ Train the Mind.
While psychotherapy gave me the permission to talk about my trauma, especially the beliefs of being unlovable and not being good enough to matter, somatic consciousness work was my ticket to feeling good about myself.
I unlocked the tension template I was carrying around, piece by piece, enabling me to change into the self-assured person I wanted, and continue to want, to be.
How? Through somatic work.
Somatic means “of the body” as opposed to “of the mind,” so by pursuing modalities where you can learn how to operate from the body’s intelligence, you’re able to move away from the mind’s IQ which can sometimes be confusing. Although mind-body could be considered one word, just like our different organs serve us in different ways, so do the mind and the body. I feel it’s important to have a relationship with different aspects of the self, so distinguishing the mind-body is one way of separating.
The body is a feeling organ; the mind is a thinking organ.
When trauma happens, the mind may come up with a belief that makes sense of what’s happening. We often live with misaligned beliefs — we can live in reaction to those beliefs consciously or unconsciously. The same goes with the body and it’s trauma template. The body has a reactive tension response from trauma, but often that tension response becomes our primary way of being in the world, rather than it being a secondary survival response.
Now, our tension is driving us forward versus our balanced body. To create any sort of lasting change, the mind and the body need both to change. The body needs to address the tension template; the mind needs to address the belief that it’s taken on.
I believe that true healing is when you can see the gift a trauma has offered you.
The gift of my trauma was BodyLogos, a method that supports positive change in the intimate relationship we all have with ourselves. Logos means ‘divine wisdom.’
A somatic practice is especially helpful when it comes to narcissism. For example, if you’re raised by a narcissist where you begin to feel like you don’t matter, like you don’t really exist, or you exist only for them, the distinction between you and them becomes a little blurry. Because the body is tangible, that sense of self can become the first place to say, “I exist! Not for you, but for myself and for the world, as a part of creation. I am not here just to serve you!”
What’s one golden nugget of information, especially if you’ve suffered from sexual trauma?
You matter. And, you need a physical practice. Go to a dance class, go to the gym, go to the trainer, get a buddy, go for walks, get in your body.
For me, I felt really agitated with myself that I was unable to speak about what was happening. I held the secret for 40 years — that was as damaging as the abuse itself. When I was still an infant in my mother’s arms and her standing there with a toddler by her side as well, my father was arrested for being a pedophile. Her husband was driven away in a cop car, but they didn’t press charges, because they didn’t want to put the child through all of that. For years, I punished myself, because there was a little girl who could tell her mom what happened and I couldn’t. Why didn’t I do that?
I ultimately realized that little girl had a mother that she trusted. I didn’t have that, because my mother was a narcissist — I didn’t think my mother would even believe me. For me, it wasn’t just getting to the other side of sexual abuse. There were a lot of things that surrounded it, including a fear of being judged and not believed. For years, I was in a dissociated state where I felt like my body was stretched between earth and sky, my bones connected to these elements, to something bigger than me. That gave me a sense of being strong; it gave me something to work toward.
My reality was filled with tension, shame, fear, so I started dance class. I went to ballet class to learn how to stretch my bones between earth and sky, so I could be deliberate about that altered state, and eventually I did learn how to do that.
It took a lot of time, but eventually, I did get to that place where I could go to that peaceful, connected place. That’s why my relationship with gravity is one of a spiritual nature.
That dissociated state reference point was something I held onto with all my might. For me, it was that story. For someone else, it might be something else. But, you have to find the reference point that has meaning and salvation is what is going to get you to the other side.
To learn more, visit https://bodylogos.com/ and watch the free video on how to release tension in 8 minutes as a gift to get started in recognizing how your body is holding trauma.
Interviewed as part of The Women Co’s series looking at the lives of women who have healed from a Narcissist. Join their 8 week digital Heal from a Narcissist program here.
Who is The Women Co? They’re the first #ChangeHacking wellness platform. They curate courses using the latest innovations in research and the best experts in mind, body and soul to help women tackle the big issues no one talks about…but should!
The Women Co’s Spring 2020 ‘Heal From A Narcissist’ program here: www.thewomenco.com/the-narcissist-program
Article originally published at www.TheWomenCo.com